Pastry Cake

This unusual very rich fruit cake, traditionally called Black Bun in Scotland, is covered in a crisp pastry. Pastry Cake is best made at least two weeks before serving as this improves the flavour – wrap it in aluminium foil and store it in a cool place.


12 oz. flour

½ teaspoon salt

3 oz. butter

2 tablespoons sugar

2 small eggs, lightly beaten

4 to

6 tablespoons iced water

8 oz. flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1½ teaspoons baking powder

4 oz. soft brown sugar

1 teaspoon mixed spice or ground allspice

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground mace

12 oz. sultanas or seedless raisins

12 oz. currants

4 oz. almonds, chopped

4 oz. walnuts, chopped

4 oz. jf cup chopped mixed candied peel grated rind and juice of

1 lemon

6 fl. oz. milk

1 tablespoon brandy

1 egg, lightly beaten

First, make the pastry. Sift the flour and salt into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the butter and cut it into small pieces with a table knife. With your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the sugar.

Add the beaten eggs with 4 tablespoons of the iced water and mix them into the flour mixture with the knife. Add more water if the dough is too dry.

Knead the dough gently and form it into a ball. Wrap the dough in greaseproof or waxed paper and place it in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into two unequal pieces and set the smaller piece aside. On a lightly floured board, roll out the larger piece of dough to a circle about

½ inch thick. Carefully lift the dough on the rolling pin and place it over a

7-inch cake tin. Gently ease the dough into the tin to line the bottom and sides. Trim off any excess dough. Place the tin in the refrigerator to chill while you make the filling.

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 400 CF (Gas Mark 63 200°C).

Sift the flour, soda and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar, mixed spice or ground allspice, cinnamon, ginger, mace, sultanas or seedless raisins, currants, almonds, walnuts, mixed peel, and the lemon rind and juice. Pour in the milk and brandy. Using a wooden spoon, mix all the ingredients together until they are thoroughly combined.

Spoon the filling into the pastry case. Press the filling flat with the back of the spoon.

Set aside.

On a lightly floured board, roll out the smaller piece of dough into a circle large enough to cover the top of the tin.

Dampen the edges of the dough already in the tin. Lift the dough circle on the rolling pin and lay it over the filling. Press the edges together to seal them. Using a sharp knife, cut a fairly large cross in the centre of the dough. Using a pastry brush, brush the dough with the beaten egg.

Place the tin in the oven and bake, for 15 minutes. Remove the tin from the oven and cover it with aluminium foil. Reduce the oven temperature to warm 325 °F (Gas Mark 3, 170°C) and return the tin to the oven. Continue baking for 3 ½ hours, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Remove the tin from the oven and carefully turn the cake out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

When the cake is cold, wrap it in aluminium foil and leave for at least 1 week before serving.

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